This week, we braved London (which was easy) and the U.S. embassy (which was not) in order to register Squirmy with the Proper Authorities. This required an appointment - which had a 14 week lead time to arrange - and a mountain of paperwork roughly equal to three acres of felled amazonian rainforest sent in at least six weeks in advance. And when we got to the front of the line, I received a mild rebuke for having completed what was apparently the old Social Security document (even though it's the one that was on the Embassy's website).
After around three hours of waiting there in the embassy and administering a pledge on Squirmy's behalf that he would grow up to be a contributing member of society, go to church at least on one major holiday a year, and vote Republican except in local elections where they don't list the party affiliation, they agreed to give us a paper registration of birth abroad (which is apparently about as easy to replace as a passenger pigeon - guard this with your life, was the message from embassy-window guy) and an "emergency" passport, which is good for a year and can later be replaced by a real passport. Which is cool, because now I can take Squirmy on the flight next week to California, to the much anticipated pleasure of the other passengers in the British Airways business class cabin.
The Critter, meanwhile, enjoyed her first non-neighborhood sleepover. (She has slept over at our neighbor's house, but knowing that we're literally just around the corner isn't quite the same). My Bride and I were a bit anxious about the whole ordeal, but considering the Critter was going to stay with her best friend, she didn't even look over her shoulder as she waved good-bye. The reports back from the hosting parent included stories of the Critter saying "please" and "thank you" and, when presented with a chocolate High School Musical lollipop upon pick up (the combination of chocolate and that movie must have seemed like one of God's Better Gifts To Mankind), she responded with a serious look - "Thank you, but I should save this until after my dinner."
My Bride and I high-fived in the parking lot. The Critter has managed to put a bit of a polish on occasional public ass-scratch in a way that Emily Post couldn't top.